Following the sexual assault incident near the Metro station, several community members engaged in a discussion on how to address the safety issue at the entrance of Metro.

It was pointed out that during the planning for the Greenbelt station, Metro made a promise to install cameras and provide foot patrol for the path. This led to further inquiry from City’s Public Service Director Bob Ryan who clarified that the blue light phone is in the works and said will be installed as part of the Lackawanna Street-scape plan.

Later I inquired further to Bob who told me that the phone may come as early as in August.  The most likely place they will get installed at the end of Lackawanna Street near 53rd Avenue.

Though a surveillance camera just out side the Metro would be more effective in deter crimes, but it looks like it will take a while for the Metro to install such cameras. In the mean time a blue light phone can be a good, though less-than-ideal solution for the Metro riders from our neighborhood.

The University of Maryland has an extensive network of blue light phones. According to UMd’s website, the “Blue light” or Public Emergency Response Telephones (PERT) provide a toll-free, direct connection to the University of Maryland Police Department. These phones are located throughout the College Park campus either inside or outside of residence halls, administrative and academic buildings.

Other university campuses, such as Missouri Western University and University of Connecticut have similar emergency telephone alert systems.